Welcome to the Kansas City Royals Liam Hendriks!
Making his debut for the Royals, Hendriks held the Minnesota Twins offense at bay for most of the night, and the Royals rewarded his efforts with a six run eighth inning to take a 6-1 victory.
In a virtual carbon copy of last night’s performance, Liam Hendriks and Phil Hughes engaged in another classic pitcher’s duel. This time, Hendriks upped the stakes on Hughes, as Hendriks retired the first fourteen batters he faced before giving up Trevor Plouffe‘s double with two out in the fifth. While the Royals were getting the occasional baserunner, neither team had a true scoring threat through the first six innings.
Again, like last night, that changed in the seventh. With one out, Kennys Vargas ripped a ball down the right field line that Nori Aoki hustled to, holding Vargas to a single. On the very next pitch, Oswaldo Arcia ripped a double to deep center. The ball took an odd carom off the wall, allowing the hefty Vargas to score from first to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. Hendriks was done after seven solid innings, and Wade Davis pitched the eighth. So far, same script.
Only this time, the Royals offense came to life an inning earlier. Raul Ibanez kicked off the inning by blooping a single into shallow center before being lifted for pinch runner Lorenzo Cain. Cain stole second, then took third as Mike Moustakas reached on an infield single to second. After a popup for the first out of the inning, Jarrod Dyson bunted for a base hit to tie the game. Aoki followed with a flared single to center, plating Moustakas with the go ahead run, despite Dyson getting thrown out at third. Yet another infield single and a walk loaded the bases for Billy Butler, who delivered a two run single. Salvador Perez followed with a two run triple, and the Royals took a 6-1 lead.
That would be it for the Twins. Greg Holland allowed a leadoff single to allow Minnesota a sliver of hope, but ripped it away by striking out the next three batters to preserve the victory. Liam Hendriks had an excellent debut, getting a tough no decision despite allowing only one run on four hits, striking out five over seven innings.
Aoki and Perez each had two hits in the victory.